Many people are complaining that in Mass Effect under Windows 7 that they can’t see the mouse pointer. The common thread seems to be Windows 7 although most of these users have resurrected the game from Steam.

The only workaround that I could find (that would work for me) is to play in the game in windowed mode. Other users have had good luck in updating their video card drivers.

Good luck!

One of the most beautiful battles in DA2 involves defeating the Ancient Rock Wraith. Overall, it’s actually an easy battle if you know the one key.

The Wraith does a huge draining explosion every few minutes. It is very obvious when it is coming. Many people use the long time between explosions to power up with healing spells and potions; however, there is an easier way. In fact, using this method I did it with only one healing spell used.

During this draining explosion, you must hide your party behind a rock pillar. The explosions will not harm you. This picture shows how it should look.  Click for a larger version.

The physics of the explosions wedge around you as you would expect. Very pretty, very cool.

Ten Ways to Get a Wii or PS3

December 14th, 2006

After spending weeks looking for a wii (and interviewing everybody in the waiting lines), I believe I know the best ways of getting a wii or PS3. Now that I have mine, I’ll share the ten secrets that I have discovered with you guys. Feel free to add more…

– = = Online attack= = -

1. Online Scan

You can check the status of most online stores through refreshthing. Refreshthing is scanning the most popular online sites.

2. Amazon Attack

Amazon will soon have a new shipment of both of these devices. If you want to snipe one off of amazon, you’ll need to have done some prep work first. Log into your amazon account and visit the appropriate pages — wii or ps3-60g / ps3-20g

You may want to consider searching amazon for the bundles and adding them as well.

When you visit the appropriate page, click on the Add to Shopping List link. Bookmark your shopping list page. When you hear that amazon has them in stock, jump straight to your Shopping List and refresh like mad. If it is in stock, you’ll see the option to add it to your cart. Once it is in your cart, you should have it. When the servers get slammed, this will save you a very important step.

3. Follow the crowds at FatWallet

Fatwallet has a great thread for following the availability of wii consoles and PS3 consoles. By subscribing to those threads, you will receive email updates. Of course, it’ll be a zillion updates a day, but ain’t nothing easy in life.

4. Follow the availability through RSS Feeds

You can also subscribe to RSS feeds regarding online availability:

wii rss –
ps3 rss –

5. Buy the bundle, (try to) return the games.

Many times stores will package a console with games and other extras. Stores such as Wal-Mart and Target will frequently take back items without a receipt. In theory, you should be able to buy the bundles and they return the extras you do not want. This worked with the xbox360 bundles but eventually stores will catch on.

- = = Offline Attack= = -

Fatwallet always has accurate information about where consoles can be found. Here are some generalities about getting one in person.

6. Get there early.

Best Buy / Wal-Mart / Toys-R-Us / Target — all have allowed people to line up in the morning for devices. In my area, people have typically needed to get there at least 4 hours before opening to get a chance of getting a device.

7. Scan the shelves anytime you are in Target or TRU

Both Target and Toys-R-Us have slipped a few out into the general stock during the day. I just missed a couple at target this way. At both places I have been told that they are on the shelves for about 30 minutes before they are gone. Other than hanging around and pestering the clerks, I don’t know any way to get a leg up. (Okay, maybe I do. Hang around to the end.)

8. Hang around for the random extra ticket

So you line up and somebody steps out of the store and says, “We only have 10.” Everybody does a head count and typically all except 10 people go home. Don’t. Stick around! I stayed around interviewing people when this happened to me. I was guy number 11 and the store said they only had 10. One of the guys told me that he had picked his first PSIII up by hanging around in case a credit card did not go through. Another person in line said that target had previously announced twenty-five but really had thirty.

So I stuck around. The store actually decided to give a ticket per family instead of per person; thus I got a ticket! Woo-hoo!

9. Try to purchase tickets from innocent bystanders

One of the people who got a ticket was really just waiting in line to keep his friend company. Another guy who stuck around with me bought his ticket for $100. $100 is a bargin when compared to ebay prices plus shipping. At Target, they handed out tickets to everybody including children. A few wise people approached these families and bought these “extra” tickets from them.

10. Poor spelling may save you dollars

Speaking of ebay… the misspelled playstatons are typically going cheaper than the correctly spelled ones. I haven’t been able to find anybody dumb enough to misspell wii.

11. Unvalidated secret hint.

(One of the guys in the line was an ebay master. He told me that he has been able to stealth grab a bunch of wii consoles at target using the price checkers. The price checkers are those devices and the end of the isles that show the price when you scan a barcode. Well, you can also manually insert a product number as well. He was getting the product number for the wii off the shelf and typing in the product number into the price checker. The price checker will actually show how many are on the floor and how many are in the back! If there were consoles in the back, he would hang around until they put them out.

I have tried this trick at my local target. It correctly pulls up the wii with the price, but it has always said 0 on the floor and 0 in stock for me. Of course, maybe I have just never been to target when they had the consoles in the back either.)

Please add to the list if you have other ideas…

My Wii Video

December 12th, 2006

Wow, my Wii video for sending photos from the wii console is actually getting a little traffic…

Honors for This Video:

#34 – Most Viewed (Today) – Video Games – All

#20 – Most Viewed (Today) – Video Games – English

Okay, to do this post I have to admit that I read Scoble but… today he suggests that Microsoft will use the old 802.11a communication protocol for the XBOX? In the comments he adds: “I’m talking about pushing HDTV from one device to another.”

Most wireless routers now use 802.11b +/- 802.11g. To do HDTV, you are likely going to need big wireless pipes. Both a and g do 54 Mbit/s compared to b’s 11Mbit/s. The argument is that 802.11g will have enough interference problems (including downspeeding when a 802.11b hits the network) that the 802.11g will not be a fat enough wireless pipe in reality.

What’s wrong with just using 802.11a? Like Scoble admits, you cannot find the hardware for one thing. People just did not buy it. The range of 802.11a is basically line of site. People chose flexibility and distance over raw speed and went with 802.11b… and then eventually upgraded to 802.11g to keep backwards compatibility. 802.11a hardware is just not made much anymore.

Scoble suggests that 802.11a router would be a great way to move HDTV from one room to another. With the short working distance, that room better be close.

If this were to occur, this would be a big slap against 802.11g. Did I mention that one of the first manufacturers of 802.11g was Apple? Instead of trying to use a forgotten technology, how about trying to maximize what is currently available. It’s going to be a Media Center to XBOX connection; therefore, how about figuring out how to compress the signal so you don’t need such a blistering fast pipe? You have both ends of the signal. Do your jedi-ninja coding and figure it out. Reviving old, dying hardware is not the way to go. Work in the environment instead of forcing everyone else to change it.